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The American National Centre for Learning Disabilities explains accommodations are alterations in the way tasks are presented which allow children with learning disabilities to complete the same assignments as other students (NCLD, 2006). It does not alter the content of assignments, give students an unfair advantage or in the case of assessments, change what a test measures. Accommodation allows students with disabilities to pursue a regular course of study. Since accommodations do not alter what is being taught, instructors should be able to implement the same grading scale for students with disabilities as they do for students without disabilities.

School assignments and tests completed with accommodations should be graded the same way as those completed without accommodations. After all, according to The American National Centre for Learning Disabilities, accommodations are meant to “level the playing field,” provide equal and ready access to the task at hand, and are not meant to provide an undue advantage to the student (NCLD, 2006). Selecting and monitoring the effectiveness of accommodations should be an ongoing process, and changes (with involvement of students, parents and educators) should be made as often as needed. The key is to be sure that chosen accommodations address students’ specific areas of need and facilitate the demonstration of skill and knowledge.

The focus of these suggestions is to incorporate the higher levels of Bloom’s Taxonomy in a substantial amount to address the cognitive needs of gifted learners. All students require exposure to all levels of the Taxonomy, however, gifted students need to have more time spent in instruction at the higher levels as they often bring a large amount of knowledge to class with them and can learn new knowledge at a faster pace. (Gifted Education, n.d.).

Categories of Accommodations

Presentation
Refers to the barrier related to the way information is presented to the student. Change the way that instruction, directions and information is presented. Allow students to access information in other ways than standard visual or auditory means
  • Font size
  • Font type
  • Colored paper
  • Sign language and gestures in general
  • Audio books
  • Recorded instructions
  • Assistive technology
Response
Refers to the barrier related to the way in which the student is required to respond. Allow students to complete assignments or assessments through other ways than typical verbal or written responses
  • oScribe
  • oSpeech-to-text software
  • oSign language and gestures in general
  • oBraille
  • oRecording answers
  • •Visual/graphic organizers
•Setting
•Refers to the barrier related to the characteristics of the setting. Allow for a change in the environment or in how the environment is structured.
oRoom with fewer distractions
oSensory tools
oEarplugs or headphones
oSeating of the students
•Time and Scheduling
•Refers to the barrier related to the timing and scheduling of the instruction. Allow for changes to when and how longs students have to complete assignments/assessments. But also allow them to be broken down into smaller sections.
oExtend time to work on assignments
oSchedule time for key instructions and assessments
oBreaks and foods
oTest over a period of time instead of one day

According to Lee, Accommodations are typically grouped into four categories: Presentation, Response, Setting, and Time and Scheduling (see above) (2019). Further examples of accommodations include:

¡Sign language interpreters for students who are deaf
¡Computer text-to-speech computer-based systems for students with visual impairments or Dyslexia
¡Extended time for students with fine motor limitations, visual impairments, or learning disabilities
¡Large-print books and worksheets for students with visual impairments
¡Trackballs, an alternative keyboards for students who operate standard mice and keyboards

 Case StudyA grade 5 class is being assessed on volcanoes. One student has been identified as having a reading disability. This student is currently reading at a grade 3 level. All students are expected to demonstrate the same learning outcomes for the volcano unit.

 

Learning outcomes

Students will be able to:

  • understand volcano formation and types
  • key features of volcanic activity
  • geographically locate 12 notable volcanoes.

 

What accommodations would you provide the student with?

 

Classroom Management

The American National Association for Gifted Children (NAGC) stated that, being gifted often comes with challenges like asynchronous development, which means that there is a mismatch between cognitive, emotional, and physical development of gifted individuals or social and emotional challenges (“Supporting Gifted Children”). Classroom management is a great tool to support students’ needs. It refers to the wide variety of skills and techniques that teachers use to keep students organized, orderly, focused, attentive, on task, as well as academically productive during a class (Education Reform, 2014). Teaching strategies are methods that teachers use to deliver course material in ways that keep students engaged and practicing different skill sets. This encourages the concentration and motivation of students (Teachings in Education, 2020).

Examples of classroom management strategies that can support the gifted and talented students in your class are listed below. These strategies will benefit all students:

Group Students Thoughtfully: Heterogeneous grouping benefits all students in terms of social skills and building relationships (Tassoni, 2007). However gifted and talented students can also be encouraged to work together as they may be challenged and motivated by students at the same level.

 

Allow students to set goals: When students set their own goals, they become more aware of their own development. With this realization the student is able recognizing where support is needed.
Identify interests: Students will be more motivated to work on a topic they are personally interested in. When the subject is connected to a topic that rises curiosity, students are more motivated to work on the assignment to completion.
Plan for students who finish activities early: Gifted and talented students tend to finish their assignments faster than the average students. Organize the schedule and make sure to have another assignment or activity ready to avoid provoking students’ negative emotions.
Inquiry-based learning: This model motivates students learning as it focuses on investigation and problem-solving. Rather than the teacher telling students what they need to know, students are encouraged to explore material, ask questions and share ideas.
20% Self time: A set time to work on own interest activities and projects can improve the students learning. During this time the student is able to innovate at their own level.
Choice assignment: Giving students a choice in assignments gives them a Student Voice. They are partly responsible for their own learning. Their Student Voice gives awareness to know that their expertise, opinions and ideas are valued in all aspects of school life (Palmer, 2003).
Project-based learning: Project based learning develops students’ ability to work with peers, building teamwork and group skills. It will show the students’ ability to apply desires skills such as doing research.
Freedom to move about: Students need to move. Kinesthetic activities are encouraged from time to time. Teachers empower students with healthy choices that lasts a lifetime, that promote health, mental alertness and quality of life (Center for Active Design, n.d.).
Diverse reading opportunities: Talented and gifted students often broad subject knowledge. Not everyone likes reading books, but there are many other reading materials that students can use to practice developing their reading skills. Think about magazines, comics, manuals, newspapers, poetry, travel brochures, encyclopedias, sport programs, catalogs, recipes, play scripts, road signs or self-written books!
Technology: Students can get on the computer to research more information on the current content being studied in class or to complete an independent study project. Gifted and talented students may have learned how to use various tools years before their same-age peers. When teachers assign students to use these tools, they may be using what they already know, which may not be motivating and engaging to them (National Association for Gifted Children (NAGC), “Differentiating Technology for Gifted Learners”). They want to learn something new to use or explore what else is out there. The technology needs to be differentiated to create a continuum of technology learning for gifted students.
Academic risk taking: Encourage students to take risks. When having a safe learning environment established in the classroom, students learn that it is allowed to make mistakes and learn from them.
Don’t single students out: Gifted and talented students are more likely to be bullied as they are standing out. When teaching try to avoid this and instead, show how great they are, like everybody else.
Competitive gamification approach: Let students compete against each other. There is nothing wrong with some competition and showing off skills and being confident about it. It is all about the challenge and fun that is attached to it.

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Inclusive Perspectives in Primary Education Copyright © 2021 by room305 and Inclusive Education Class 2020-2021 is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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